Bunnahabhain is more commonly known for its lightly peated and unpeated expressions, but over the last few year's they've been experimenting with their 'moine' ('peat' in Scots Gaelic) and have released a range of whiskies with more of a peaty kick. Today we're taking a look at one of these in the form of the fairly unpronounceable Toiteach ('toch-chach' I'm reliably told).
Nose: If you closed your eyes you could be in the engine room of a 19th Century steamship. The peat-reek is reasonably thick, but it's also oily and metallic with more than a hint of sweetness to it. Outside of the peat spectrum, there's some unsurprising seaside and salty notes and a more surprising hint of fresh green grape. The addition of water brings more fruity notes into the mix such as candied lemon peel and tart green apple.
Taste: Really solid initial 'attack' with the steam liner oily peat immediate but somewhat more rubbery now. Elastic bands I guess?! The development is quick and brings out more complexity to the dram such as malted cereals, liquorice, pepper, light caramel and again those lemon and green apple notes. Water has a benefit here as well as on the nose, as the dram in its natural state has a fair alcoholic bite to it. Just a few drops softens the edges up, and allows the flavours to intermingle, whilst the alcohol itself to relaxes a little touch.
Finish: Quite long and expressive with the oily peat and soot playing a game of doubles against oak spicing and alcohol. The latter wins the match in an unwatered state. So back to that pipette guys.
I tried Toiteach on a number of occasions and in a number of different ways. I came to the conclusion that despite the normally ideal ABV of 46% that this dram really benefitted from the water addition. Likewise, I found that it equally improved its poise with a bit of time in the glass - say 10 to 15 minutes. Given these 'modifications' the whisky was expressive, displayed good balance and yet still maintained the great initial attack.